Today Donna Carrick, publisher of In the Spirit of 13, the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fifth anthology, interviews contributing author, Lynne Murphy. Lynne talks about the inspiration for her two stories in the collection: “The Trespassers”, an eerie tale in which a grandmother is haunted by two small children and the light-hearted revenge story, “Gracie, The Invisible Dog”.
Donna Carrick, publishing editor of The Spirit of 13, is interviewing the contributing authors. Her first interview is with Lisa De Nikolits where Lisa reveals her inspiration for her story, “A Land of Fear and Denial”.
May is an exciting month for crime writers, but this year especially so for the Mesdames and Messieurs with new books and publications. Not to mention the thrill of the upcoming CWC Awards of Excellence and the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference, our new national crime writers conference!
Congratulations – and Fingers Crossed!
Crime Writers of Canada will announce the winners of the 2022 Awards of Excellence on Thursday, May 26th at 1 pm. Broadcast on YouTube.
Melissa Yi’s story, “Dead Man’s Hand”, published in EQMM in 2021, is a finalist for the CWC Award of Excellence for Best Short Story.
Melodie Campbell’s mentee, Delee Fromm, is nominated for CWC Award of Excellence for Best Unpublished Novel for her manuscript, The Strength to Rise.
Congratulations to Cat Mills!
Cat Mills’ latest film, The Billboard Squad, is a 25 minute short documentary for Al Jazeera Witness. It is scheduled to be released on May 23rd.
Dave Meslin is a 47-year-old Canadian activist in Toronto known for his campaigns to defend public space from commercial interests. For 15 years, he’s been lobbying the city to remove illegal billboards from neighborhoods across Toronto.
Dave has a team of volunteers, including his 11-year-old niece, who gather intel and strategize on how to bring down the billboards. They are prepared to do whatever it takes to reclaim a local green space. But as the Billboard Squad clashes with power, bureaucracy and inertia, Dave grapples with the emotional complexities of activism.
In mid-May, Sylvia is a guest on EQMM’s blog where she reveals how she changed from a literary writer to a life of crime… writing.
Jayne Barnard‘s story, “Crow’s Hoard”, will be published inNothing Without Us Too, the follow-up to the anthology, Nothing Without Us, a 2020 Prix Aurora Award finalist. The books feature stories by authors who are disabled, d/Deaf or hard-of-hearing, Blind or visually impaired, neurodivergent, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness.
Trapped in her small apartment after a flood forces everyone else to evacuate, chronically-ill Carmel expects to die, even welcomes it. But when she tells the crows who trade her their treasures for snacks that she won’t be there tomorrow, they bring her a choice she could have never predicted.
Release date, September 15, 2022.
Jayne has a second story in the new anthology from Sisters In Crime Canada West, Crime Wave: Women of a Certain Age. In “Midsummer Day’s Dream” our favorite sleuthing B&B hosts are juggling a Shakespeare on the Beach production and a painters’ retreat. But drug deals, old grudges, and a fire on the mountain spell Midsummer disaster for their fledgling business.
Crime Wave: Women of a Certain Age will be published Fall, 2022. We’ll be sharing the cover reveal as soon as it’s released!
On May 15th, the Crime Writers of Canada will release their 40th anniversary anthology, Cold Canadian Crime.
Stories by Melodie Campbell, Lisa De Nikolits, Blair Keetch, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy and Sylvia Warsh are included in the collection – a terrific showing by the Mesdames of Mayhem!
Rosemary McCracken was interviewed on May 5th by CWC’s Erik D’Souza as part of a series of interviews for the Cold Canadian Crime anthology.
Lynne Murphy’s book launch for Potluck and Other Stories was a big success. She had guests from England, Jersey in the Channel Islands, BC, Winnipeg, Ottawa. Many of the Mesdames were in attendance. You can watch the launch on YouTube here
The Maple Leaf Mystery Conference, our new national crime writers conference, takes place on Zoom from May 24 to 28th. Registration is only $25 and features interviews with internationally recognized authors, Ian Rankin and Maureen Jennings. Sign up here.
The Mesdames are an integral part of the conference with ten of us conducting interviews or moderating and participating on the panels.
Here’s the panel schedule. Do join us!
· Wednesday, May 25th, 8:15 pm Melodie Campbell, Lynne Murphy, Caro Soles are on the panel, Deadly Laughter
· Friday, May 27th, 2 pm, Melodie Campbell interviews best-selling author Ian Rankin
· Friday, May 27th, 3:15 pm, M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken and Jane Petersen Burfield are on the panel, The Big Short
· Friday, May 27th, 5:45 pm, Madona Skaff is on the panel, Changing Faces in Crime/Mystery Writing
· Saturday, May 28th , 2 pm, Catherine Astolfo and Lisa de Nikolits are on the panel, Maple Leaf Murder East
· Saturday, May 28th, 5:45 pm, Donna Carrick moderates the panel, Love with a Mysterious Twist
Looking Ahead to June!
June will be another crazy busy month for the Mesdames, including the Big Reveal of our cover for In the Spirit of 13.
On June 3 to 4th, The Toronto International Festival of Authors has invited members of the Crime Writers of Canada to do readings, sell books and meet readers.
On June 8th, an inaugural Queer Noir at the Bar will be held during Toronto’s Pride Week with guest reader, Caro Soles.
On June 11-12th, Word on the Street returns to Queen’s Park with Caro Soles and many Mesdames hosting a booth.
And on June 18th, Lisa De Nikolits will be reading at the CanLit AuthorFest.
The Mesdames of Mayhem were delighted when the new national crime writers conference was announced. And we’re also delighted to speak to Mike Martin about the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference.
Mike is the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower mystery series. He is the Past Chair of the Board of the Crime Writers of Canada and a member of the Newfoundland Writers’ Guild, Ottawa Independent Writers and Capital Crime Writers.
The Mesdames: Congratulations! Tell us how MLMC came about.
Mike Martin: The Maple Leaf Mystery Conference has been a long time in the works. Ever since the untimely demise of Bloody Words, Canadian mystery authors, fans and readers have been longing for a Canadian mystery conference.
There was some momentum before the pandemic, but like all in-person events, that took a backstage to staying safe and healthy. Now, we’re back on track with this year’s Virtual conference and next year we are dreaming of an in-person conference. Fingers crossed.
The Mesdames: How did you decide on the name for the conference?
Mike: That was easy. We wanted it to be distinctly Canadian and what’s more Canadian than a maple leaf? MLMC is open to all readers and authors whether they love hard-boiled or cozy crime fiction. Our Author Panels reflect that as well.
The Mesdames: What would you love to see happen with MLMC?
Mike: Connect readers and writers. That’s the primary goal of any literary conference. Next, give readers a chance to ask their favourite author a question they’d always wondered about. And lastly, to build the audience for mystery and crime writing and whet the appetite for an in-person event.
The Mesdames:What are the big challenges with a virtual conference?
Mike: Finding ways to make a virtual event feel real for both authors and readers can be a challenge. Making it easy to register and participate on a Zoom conference platform is crucial. It may look the same on your screen, but behind the scenes, there’s lots of activity to make it all look simple. And we may lose some people who are Zoomed out or just don’t like the technology, who may have otherwise joined an in-person event. That’s always too bad.
The Mesdames: Writers First, the host of the conference, is breaking new ground for services to authors. Do tell us more.
Mike: For far too long, independent authors have been at the mercy of unscrupulous companies that promise them everything and deliver little but an expensive bill at the end of the process. We wanted to change that by offering services that are first-rate and affordable for emerging and existing authors who want to make their writing dreams become a reality.
Writers First offers a full range of services from industry professionals to help support independent writers. They include everything from manuscript evaluation to editing, publishing, distribution and marketing. All in one place. Our goal is to help writers create better books and to allow them to keep most of the profit from their labours.
The Mesdames: And please tell us about yourself and your award-winning Sgt. Windflower mystery series!
Mike: I was born in St. John’s, NL, but I live and work in Ottawa, Ontario. I set the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series in beautiful Grand Bank. There are now 12 books in this light mystery series with the publication of Dangerous Waters.
A Tangled Web was shortlisted in 2017 for the best light mystery of the year, and Darkest Before the Dawn won the 2019 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. I’ve also published Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries, a Sgt. Windflower Book of Christmas past and present.
The Mesdames: How can Canadian authors and fans help make the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference a terrific success?
Mike: Tell everybody about MLMC and encourage them to attend. Social media is a great place to do that. Please like the Writers First Facebook Page and our Instagram account. Then share all the great news that some of the members of Mesdames of Mayhem will be featured authors on Author Panels.
The Mesdames: Register for the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference here. And be sure to visit the Writers First website for full conference details here.
April not only begins awards season but also offers new opportunities for growth and exciting new ways the Mesdames can reach out to you, dear readers. Cat Mills has two new films, Lynne Murphy‘s collection of short stories includes a new novella and Lisa de Nikolits is interviewed as part of an international conference. And speaking of conferences, M. H. Callway is featured in Left Coast Crime and a number of Mesdames are featured in Canada’s first Maple Leaf Mystery Conferencein May.
PUBLICATIONS AND CONGRATULATIONS
Potluck and other Stories (Carrick Publishing), Lynne Murphy‘s new anthology is now available in paperback and ebook from Amazon. Four of the stories in Potluck have been published in anthologies from the Mesdames. The book also includes a novella, “A Damaged Heart.”
The Zoom launch for Potluck is set for Saturday, April 23 at 2:00 p.m.
For a glimpse into the background, her humour and the darker side of Lynne Murphy‘s imagination, read RosemaryMcCracken‘s excellent interview with Lynne on Rosemary’s Moving Target blog. It’s a virtual feast of information and fun about our Golden Funny Girl, Lynne Murphy. Rosemary also provides links where you can buy Potluck and Other Stories.
Cat Mills is excited to announce she has two films coming out!
Me, Mahmoud and the Mint Plant is a short animated documentary about a Canadian nurse in war-torn Iraq, who uncovers the secret behind a mysterious man and his beloved mint plant. The film is on CBC Gem and YouTube.
The Billboard Squad is a 25-minute documentary for Al Jazeera Witness. The film won the 2020 Hot Docs Short Pitch competition.
For 15 years, activist Dave Meslin has been fighting to remove illegal billboards in Toronto. As he struggles to tear down two notorious eyesores, he must face his demons of burnout, suicide and the death of his beloved mentor.
The Billboard Squad will be released on Al Jazeera Witness broadcast and YouTube channel on May 9th.
Borka Richter, Associate Professor at Kodolányi János University of Applied Sciences | KJU · Department of English Language and Literature, interviewed Lisa de Nikolits as part of the International conference “Seizing the day: Current Research in Global Englishes”. The conference was hosted online by Kodolányi János University, Budapest.
Lisa spoke about Global Englishes in her writing, from a South African and Canadian perspective.
The Left Coast Crime conference is in Albuquerque, New Mexico from April 7 -10. On Friday, April 8th, 2:45 p.m., M. H. Callway is on the short story panel, Let’s Keep It Short. On Saturday, April 9th, 1:30 p.m., Madeleine is moderating the panel on noir fiction, What’s Noir Got to Do With It? There’s also a strong representation of members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, including a get-together breakfast on April 9th.
MAPLE LEAF MYSTERY CONFERENCE
The Maple Leaf Conference takes place over five days, May 24 to 28. It will be a virtual thrill for mystery lovers—readers and writers alike— with daily Author Spotlight sessions and panel discussions.
Interviewers for the Author Spotlights and panel moderators and members are now confirmed. Mesdames participating on panels and interviews are the following: Melodie Campbell (interviewer and panel member); Donna Carrick (panel moderator); Madona Skaff (panel member); Lynne Murphy (panel member); Caro Soles (panel member); Madeleine Harris-Callway (panel member); Rosemary McCracken (panel member); Jane Burfield (panel member); Catherine Astolfo (panel member); and Lisa de Nikolits (panel member).
There are more Author Spotlights, including Maureen Jennings and other leading Canadian crime writers and more panels, too. For the full program, visit the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference web pages.
Author Spotlight: Ian Rankin Interviewed by Melodie Campbell
Melodie will interview Ian Rankin. Author Spotlight. Friday, May 27 at 2 p.m.
Changing Faces in Crime/Mystery Writing: Moderator Hyacinthe Miller
Some unique voices in Canadian crime fiction. Mystery writers who write from differing perspectives, featuring characters who are BIPOC, LGBTQ or have a physical disability. Panelists: Anthony Bidulka, Liz Bugg and Madona Skaff.
Love with a Murderous Twist: Moderator Donna Carrick
Romance in a mysterious setting. Great love stories inside a life of crime. Maybe just a great love interest that plays a role in solving a mystery. Panelists: Hannah Mary McKinnon, Joan Donaldson-Yarmey, Linda Cahill and Amy Tector.
Deadly Laughter: Moderator Joan O’Callaghan
Can Murder be funny? Even in the tensest situations, we sometimes need a laugh or two. Crime and mystery with a touch of mirth. Panelists: Melodie Campbell, Lynne Murphy, A. J. Devlin and Caro Soles.
The Big Short: Moderator Merrilee Robson
Sometimes the best-told tales are short ones. Short crime and mystery stories have been around forever. Hear from some of Canada’s best. Panelists: Madeleine Harris-Callway, Rosemary McCracken, Jane Burfield and Alice Fitzpatrick.
Maple Leaf Murder East: Moderator Judy Penz Sheluk
Mystery and mayhem from Ontario and Quebec. Authors with tales of murder and suspense from big cities and small towns. Panelists: Michael Foley, Catherine Astolfo, J. A. Menzies and Lisa de Nikolits.
Announcing the virtual Maple Leaf Mystery Conference from May 24 to 28th. Registration is open and only $25 and if you register now, you may get a cool, free tote bag. Here’s the link: https://bit.ly/3KnlSzT
This is a wonderful opportunity to see and hear leading crime fiction writers Ian Rankin and Maureen Jennings, as well as favourites such as Vicki Delany, Rick Mofina and Iona Whishaw. There will also be an exciting array of panels focused on new and emerging writers and—of course, readers—with other noted Canadian authors. You won’t want to miss this first Writers First Canadian Mystery Conference, sponsored by Crime Writers of Canada and the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime.
Although the Programme is still being finalized, the Mesdames can already boast of having two of our members on Panels. Donna Carrick will moderate the Love with a Murderous Twist panel and Madona Skaff will participate in the Changing Faces on Crime/Mystery Writing panel.
While the last of winter ebbs to spring, things are definitely opening up again. On offer is a yummy potluck of Lynne Murphy’s stories, an eye-opening discussion of the pros and cons of Indie publishing with Madona Skaf, Melodie Campbell’s witty and wise workshop on humour in crime fiction and M. H. Callway in-person at Left Coast Crime.
Carrick Publishing is publishing Lynne Murphy‘s collection of short stories. Potluck and Other Stories will be coming out in March.
Join Madona Skaff and Mike Martin on Wednesday, March 9th, at 7pm for their presentation to Capital Crime Writers: Indie Publishing: A Fun Adventure or Evil Torture? Mike is the author of the award-winning Sgt Windflower mystery series set in Grand Bank, Nfld. If you’re interested in attending, please email Madona at email@example.com for the Zoom link.
Self or Indie Publishing is growing in popularity among authors. With so many publishing platforms available, how do you choose one? Should you do print, e-books, or both? How much time and money are you willing to invest on the road to success? And what does success mean to you? Our speakers tonight will explain how they did it. They will take you through a few essential steps to creating the best book that you can.
Melodie Campbell gets called names! The Toronto Sun called her “Canada’s Queen of Comedy,” and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine dubbed her the “Canadian literary heir to Donald Westlake.” We just call her awesome.
On March 17th, members of Toronto Sisters in Crime host Melodie Campbell for her workshop Over My Dead Body: Humour in Crime Fiction.
Join Melodie as she shows you how she does it (with examples) and breaks down the various types of humour you can include in your own work or merely enjoy in your reading. So whether you’re a reader or a writer, Melodie‘s presentation promises to be filled with wit and wisdom.
Winner of 10 awards, including The Derringer (US) and the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence, she has multiple bestsellers and was featured in USA Today. Her publications include over 100 comedy credits, 16 novels, and 60 short stories, but she’s best known for The Goddaughter mob caper series.
Left Coast Crime 2022: Southwest Sleuths
M.H. Callway will be attending Left Coast Crime in Albuquerque, New Mexico from April 7 to 11th. She is honoured that LCC has asked her to moderate a leading panel and to be a panelist on another in prime time.
Madeleine is moderating the Noir panel, What’s Noir Got To Do With It? on Saturday, April 9th at 1:30 pm.
She is also on the panel, Let’s Keep It Short: Cozies to Noir, Friday, April 8th at 2:45 pm.
Capital Crime Writers is once again sponsoring the Audrey Jessup Short Story Contest – Open to Ottawa and surrounding area residents. The story must include a crime.
Out of 46 submissions to the special 40th Anniversary Crime Writers of Canada’s Anthology: Cold Canadian Crime, the stories from five Mesdames and one Monsieur have been selected as part of the 21 stories in the anthology. Cold Canadian Crime is scheduled for release in May 2022.
Congratulations to Melodie Campbell,Lisa de Nikolits, Blair Keetch, Sylvia Maultash Warsh, Rosemary McCracken and Lynne Murphy.
Sylvia Warsh is the Edgar award-winning author of the Rebecca Temple series of crime novels. She was born in Germany to Holocaust survivors. Listening to her mother’s stories, sparked a life-long interest in history, especially WW2.
Sylvia writes both crime and literary fiction. In addtion to winning the Edgar for Best Paperback for Find Me Again, Sylvia’s work has been short-listed for numerous awards including the CWC Awards of Excellence, the Derringer, Anthony and Relit Awards.
Her literary novel, The Queen of Unforgetting, was chosen by Project Bookmark Canada for a plaque in Little Lake Park, Midland, Ontario, where the book takes place.
The Mesdames: Outwardly you’re respectable, but you have a secret…
Yes! When I meet people I look them over to see if they’d make a good character. I feel like a spider with compound eyes, taking in every detail. I wish I could say that I write it all down and keep it on file, but I’m not that organized.
The Mesdames: LOL! What other secrets can you share with us?
Some decades ago, I was frustrated with my writing. I gave it up for two years while I drew and painted and took art classes. I didn’t realize I could draw until I tried it. I even had an exhibit in a library for a month.
The Mesdames: That’s amazing. But how you did return to writing?
I used what I learned from dabbling in art in my mystery series featuring Dr. Rebecca Temple. She’s a young widow whose late husband was an artist, so she has learned a lot about art by osmosis.
The Mesdames: How have you used art in your writing?
Art is one of the themes in my first book, To Die in Spring. Rebecca recognizes paintings when she sees them in a suspicious character’s house. There’s also the question of a famous painting by Raphael, Portrait of a Young Man, stolen by the Nazis during World War II and still missing.
“The Veiled Heart” and “The Cabin in the Woods” are two of my recently published short stories with art themes.
Have we got a boxload of goodies for you this February! Books, podcasts, a play, a super webinar to get you reading and writing short stories, a hilarious but wise take on writing and more writing resources.
CONGRATULATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
Melissa Yi’s play, The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World (and Other True Tales from the Emergency Room) was accepted to the 2022 Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work in Calgary.
Catherine Astolfo’s book of two mystery novellas,Twice the Chit, featuring The Flower Pots from Chittendom Creek, is now available as a paperback.
Two murderous romps in one! Chittendom Creek is the site of the ReVisions Retirement Residence, the home of Kira Callahan and owned by Kira’s beloved sister. Along with her gang of retired hippies (the Flower Pots), Kira is forced to solve a mystery when oldies start dropping like flies. In the second adventure, Kira and the Pots venture out of RRR into dangerous territory to solve yet another mystery. Kira and the Pots are engaging, hilarious, but very successful amateur sleuths. Both the Pots and the plots will keep you guessing right up to the last page.
POSTS AND PODCASTS
Are you struggling to read during this time of Covid? Are you struggling to finish reading a book you’ve picked up? And, if you’re a writer, are you struggling to write? These posts will help lift you out of the doldrums!
I used to tell my writing classes that you need three things to become a writer: You need talent. You need to learn the craft. And you need passion. I’ve now decided that the most important thing you need to continue to be a writer is a healthy sense of humour! (and a big supply of scotch).
On January 13th, Melissa Yi was on the Writers Block podcast to talk about her new book, White Lightning. The podcast can reach up to 600K people. She enjoyed a Corpse Reviver cocktail for courage! Here’s the link: www.latalkradio.com/content/writers-block
On January 18th, Donna Carrick presented a Webinar: Short Story Writing for the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) webinar series. Her webinar is now available on YouTube.
“De Nikolits has created a futuristic novel filled with more twists and turns than a country road married to a maze. She uses suspense, humour, imagination, science, and some very quirky characters with distinctive characteristics. … Setting is also important in futuristic novels and de Nikolits does not disappoint. The reader cannot only see, but hear, and smell the sweat running down Sharp’s neck and clothes; the dead bodies lying on the stairs and sidewalks of St. Polycarp as it begins reverting to a natural existence.
Then there are the two ultimate settings: the actual jumps and the rage room. The reader becomes a part of the novel. The plot, setting, and characters combine to provide an interesting dilemma – should Sharks (sic) fix his past so he can erase his fatal mistakes, or must he still suffer the consequences of his actions? The reader needs to remember the three elements of the novel as they all play a part in The Rage Room. No spoilers here. To find the answer, you must read The Rage Room. Make time to read it.”
WRITING COURSES AND RESOURCES
Kerri Cathers, who was interviewed by Rosemary McCracken a few weeks ago, has published her first newsletter, A Curiosity of Crime. It’s a free resource for historical writers. You may subscribe on the A Curiosity of Crime website.
Sam Wiebe, one of Canada’s leading crime writers, is teaching an online creative writing course at University of Toronto: Plotting and Writing a Mystery. It is for both established and emerging authors. For more information: 2698 – Plotting and Writing a Mystery, School of Continuing Studies – University of Toronto.
Fun Facts About…
The next Fun Facts About… will be on Sylvia Warsh. Watch for it in mid-February.
As promised, here is Part Two of our annual round-up for 2021.
The Mesdames were incredibly busy in cyberspace taking part in conferences, book launches, readings and interviews.
We launched new regular features this year: Fun Facts About...to share some secrets about the Mesdames and Messieurs. and Best Bookstore Friends. We’ll be continuing these in 2022!
And we’ve expanded our reach in social media, thanks to our Twitter Goddess, JayneBarnard.
But nothing can replace the Real World. Fingers crossed that COVID fades out FOR GOOD and we can meet you later in 2022.
Ontario Library Technicians AssociationConference, May 8-15, 2021
Several of Mesdames took part in the Crime Writers of Canada panels at the week-long conference. M. H. Callway and Melissa Yi discussed The Long and Short of It, Writing Short Stories and Novellas; Melodie Campbell and Caro Soles, talked comedy writing on Make ‘Em Laugh, Comic Relief to Comic Caper; and Rosemary McCracken lent her expertise on creating settings on Clearly Canadian, All Canadian Settings, eh?
And Melodie joined the CWC Author Spotlight Special Discussion Panel to talk about her body of crime fiction!
When Words Collide – Multi-genre Conference, August 13 to 15, 2021
Jayne Barnard and M. H. Callway participated in and /or moderated several panels: Writing Groups and How to Run Them; The Heroine’s Journey Continues on the changing role of women protagonists; Twisted on plot twists; Short Stories as Stepping Stones on developing a career in short fiction as a step toward novel publication; Love of the Land – The Importance of Place in Fiction; Crime Fiction in 2021: Trends and Evolution; and Big Crimes, Small Towns as a unique setting for mystery novels.
Caro Soles drew on her expertise in crime and speculative fiction to tell emerging writers about Cross-Genre Writing. Melissa Yi provided one-on-one author-writer consultations at the Blue Pencil Café.
Book Launches in Cyberspace!
MadonaSkaff launched her SF thriller, Shifting Trust, with a cover reveal and book trailer on May 29th and the official FaceBook event on September 15th.
The cover BTW is by her talented daughter, Louise Koren!
On December 11th, Renaissance Press hosted Deck the Halls with Books, a virtual holiday party, to celebrate their new book releases, including Shifting Trust!
On December 1st, Melissa Yi launched her latest book, White Lightning, a Prohibition-inspired thriller with a virtual speakeasy launch party.
Artisan distiller, Nathalie Gamache of Gin*Eco*Logic taught us how to mix a vintage cocktail called, appropriately enough, the Corpse Reviver #2. Spoiler alert: it’s delicious!
Caro Soles read and talked about her latest book in the speculative fiction Merculian series, The Colony Dancers.
Throughout the year, several Mesdames appeared on interviews and podcasts: M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken, Madona Skaff and Caro Soles.
But the most interviewed Madame was Lisa De Nikolits, who even appeared on an Italian blog to discuss the Italian translation of her novel, No Fury Like That.
On March 16th, RosemaryMcCracken gave a Zoom presentation about Writing a Crime Fiction Novel to Ottawa Independent Writers (OIW). OIW has been supporting both fiction and non-fiction writers in the National Capital Region since 1986. It has more than 180 members.
And on May 13th, Rosemary spoke about crime fiction to Na’amat Canada, a non-profit volunteer Jewish women’s organization dedicated to improving the lives of families in Israel.
M. H. Callway joined a stellar line-up of guest authors at Toronto’s Noir at the Bar on June 24th, including Edgar nominee, C. S. O’Cinneide and best-selling author, Robert Rotenberg.
A big thank you to Hope Thompson and Robert Brunet for their ongoing support of Canadian crime fiction.
Sisters in Crime Toronto
MadonaSkaff spoke to SinC Toronto on March 18th about When Art Imitates Life and how to draw from real life without turning your fiction into autobiography.
On July 15th, Melissa taught the audience how to make sure medical details in your manuscripts are true to life. She also fielded a Q&A on common medical mistakes in crime fiction.
In September, Lisa De Nikolits launched her newest venture, I Read Somewhere That, a podcast AND a website. ireadsomewherethat
Lisa’s episodes and blogs contain fab debate, reviews of hot new books, advice and lots of buzzy book gossip about the publishing industry. Books to be featured are published by Inanna Publications, Breakwater Books Ltd., Dundurn Press and Wolsak and Wynn Publishers.
Best-selling author, Linwood Barkley appeared on Episode 10 of her Apple Podcast in 2021 – and the Mesdames were featured in Episode 9. You can subscribe here.
Fun Facts About..
The Mesdames launched two new features in our newsletter/blog communications in 2021, both of which we’ll be continuing in 2022.
If you were curious about what lies beneath our respectable facades, check out Fun Facts About and you learn that some of us have survived three terrorist bomb attacks, been strong-armed by security on a Royal Tour and even done a hula dance for the Mayor of Atlantic City.
Big thanks to Rosemary Aubert,Jane Burfield, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy and Kevin Thornton for sharing their adventures.
Best Bookstore Friends
Bookstore owners and librarians are an author’s best friends! Cathy Dunphy and Melissa Yi kicked this new venture off the ground and interviewed the owners of R and L Book Nook in Alexandria, Ontario.
And a big thank you to Madona Skaff for the in-depth interview of her favourite book store, Perfect Books in Ottawa, Ontario.
A Fond Farewellto Bony Blithe
Bony Blithe is retiring. She’s had a great run over the past 10 years, but now it’s time for our bony lass to rest her weary bones. Cheryl Freedman and her team thank all the publishers and authors who’ve made the Bony Blithe Light mystery award a huge success and gave us so many delightful books to make us smile.
And a Big Thank you to editors Marilyn and Roz for their hard work!
The Mesdames and Messieurs of Mayhem had a fabulous year in 2021 in print and cyberspace.
We accomplished so much the past year that once again our annual review is in two parts. Part One tells you about the recognitions we received and lists our book and story publications. Part Two outlines our appearances in cyberspace plus our new social media ventures.
Hope the joke 2020, 2020-WON and 2020-TOO stays a joke!And that we’ll be seeing you in the Real World soon in the New Year.
Great News for 2022!
We’re delighted to confirm that the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fifth anthology, The Spirit of 13, will be published in 2022 by Carrick Publishing, Donna Carrick is our editor.
Spirit means ghosts or debunking of same, demons, joie de vivre, alcohol- whatever our wild imaginations brew up.
Stayed tuned for our cover reveal and publication date later this year!
Awards and Recognitions!
Jayne Barnard edited Sisters in Crime West’s first anthology, Crime Wave with author Karen L. Abrahamson.
It was a great debut: “Cold Wave”, by Marcelle Dube won the Crime Writers of Canada Best Short Story Award for 2021. And the novella, Salty Dog Blues, by Winona Kent, was a finalist for the CWC Best Novella Award.
Congratulations are due to Kevin Thornton for his NINE short story acceptances in 2021. That’s more than 70,000 words, the length of a novel!
Sylvia Warsh‘s story, “Days Without Name”, was a finalist for the CWC 2021 Awards of Excellence for Best Short Story. “Days Without Name” was published in the anthology, A Grave Diagnosis, Donna Carrick, editor (Carrick Publishing)
Big congratulations are due to Melissa for her SIX story acceptances in 2021. Plus she was a winner in the International Thriller Writers Best First Sentence contest.
Melissa accomplished all this while working as an emergency physician during COVID. She is our hero!!
Published Books and Stories!
COVID did not keep the Mesdames and Messieurs down. Indeed 2021 proved to be an amazingly successful year for us with the publication of FIVE new novels and 17 short stories and essays. In addition, we re-released SEVEN of our earlier novels and had SEVEN of our short stories reprinted.
Lisa De Nikolits‘s critically acclaimed, The Rage Room, is now available on Audible.
Blair Keetch‘s story, “Killings 4 Sale”, is part of the black humor anthology, Asinine Assassins (Smart Rhino Publishing). And his story, “200 Miles to Murder” was published by Dark and Stormy Book Club.
Rosemary McCracken‘s suspense story, “The Passenger”, was published in Mystery Weekly Magazine, one of North America’s leading zines for short crime fiction.
Madona Skaff’s speculative fiction crossover mystery, ShiftingTrust, was published by Renaissance Press. The striking cover was designed by her daughter.
Caro Soles’s latestspeculative fiction crossover mystery, The Colony Dancers, was published by Mystique Press. It is the fifth book in the Merculian Mystery Series featuring Inspector Marlo.
Kevin Thornton’s story, “One Good Thing”, is one of the hilarious tales in the anthology, Asinine Assassins. And he sold eight Sherlock Holmes stories. Six were published in 2021 (MX Publishing), two are scheduled for 2022. For a full listing of Kevin’s Sherlock Holmes stories, please see our Year End Book Review.
Our Mesdames and Messieurs are already hard at work to bring you a new anthology later this year. And we look forward to a year of new publications, webinars and other events each month, beginning with Donna Carrick’s webinar on short story writing.
CONGRATULATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
Congratulations to Blair Keetch. His Flash Fiction story “Glimmers” appeared in the online magazine Shotgun Honey on December 23rd.
Check out Lisa de Nikolits‘s latest blog post, “Goodbye to 2021! What I’m looking forward to in 2022!” on Goodreads. In the post, she gives you a sneak preview of her upcoming book Everything You Dream is Real, which is a sequel to her latest book, Rage Room. She also shares an interview she had with Chapters4Change about Rage Room.
A friendly reminder about our December books now available on Amazon:
September by Rosemary Aubert, available on kindle.
Shifting Trust by Madona Skaff-Koren, available on Amazon in paperback or kindle.
Donna Carrick is giving a webinar in the Crime Writers of Canada 40th Anniversary Webinar Series. Donna will speak about Short Story Writing on January 18th, 7 pm EST. The webinar is FREE to professional and associate members of CWC. One of the many benefits the CWC provides to its Professional and Associate members is access to the Webinar Series Archive. Emerging and established writers can access an amazing array of topics from Medical Mystery Mistakes (Mme Melissa Yi) to poisonous plants to talking with a real-world detective.
Also, check out Rosemary‘s latest post on Shelley Workinger’s blog, But What Are They Eating? It will make your mouth water. Not only that, but it also provides a glimpse into Rosemary‘s time as a food critic for the Calgary Herald.
Friendly reminder that submissions to the Derringer Short Story Awards are now open, deadline January 31st. You must be a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society to submit a story. If you are not a member, a friend who is a member may submit your story for you. For the complete submission rules, check out: The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog: Derringer Awards Policy (2018)
Stay tuned for Wow What a Year, the Mesdames’ round-up of their highlights in 2021!
Betty White passed away on Friday, less than three weeks away from celebrating her 100th birthday. Actress, comedienne, author, and animal rights activist, she is one of Hollywood’s most beloved icons. Best known for her roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Golden Girls, Ms. White had a television career that spanned more than eight decades. In the 2014 edition of “Guinness World Records” she was certified as the longest ever female entertainer.
My favorite quotations from Betty White:
Butterflies are like women — we may look pretty and delicate, but baby, we can fly through a hurricane.
In my head, I’m the ultimate cougar. Animal lover that I am.
I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It’s that simple.
The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.
Wow! This past year has been a rollercoaster of book launches, short story publications and online events for our Mesdames and Messieurs And December is no exception. But in between the flurry of activities, we are taking time for our loved ones during this season of merriment and goodwill. We wish you too will find peace, love and hope among you and yours. And, of course, time to put up your feet and read some books.
Mega congrats to Melodie Campbell for her contract with Cormorant Books for her new series, The Merry Widow Murders, set in the roaring 1920s. An unconventional heiress with a mysterious past is traveling from New York to London in 1928 via steamship when she discovers a murdered man in her stateroom. Can’t wait to read it!
Congrats to Kevin Thornton for his terrific success in publishing NINE Sherlock Holmes stories in 2021 plus his tale, “One Good Thing”, in Asinine Assassins. That’s a word count of more than 70,000! Here’s the complete list for all readers who are secret – or not so secret – Bootmakers: list follows:
Asinine Assassins, “One Good Thing”. Note: Blair Keetch’s story ‘Killings 4 Sale’ is also in this anthology.
Sherlock Holmes: A Year of Mystery 1882 – “The Spofforth Effect” COMING SOON! – Belanger Books
The Nefarious Villains of Sherlock Holmes, Volume II – “The Adventure of the Lustreless Client” COMING SOON! – Belanger Books
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTSAND INTERVIEWS
December 7tth, 7 p.m. CWC Ottawa / Eastern Ontario Region, is hosting a Facebook Event with Perfect Books on Elgin Street. Madona Skaff joins Mary Jane Maffini and other great local crime writers to read from her latest book, Shifting Trust.
Join Madona Skaff on Saturday, December 11th from 4 to 6 p.m. for a celebration of the holidays and new releases from Renaissance Press. As part of the festivities, readings and prizes, Madona will read from her latest book, Shifting Trust. To join the fun, register at Eventbrite.
Lisa de Nikolits has an interview with Chapters4Change on December 8th. You can catch the interview on the Chapters4Change Interview page.
Mega Congratulations to Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, who just signed with Cormorant Books to publish her new book, The Merry Widow Murders. Mel thanks Marc Cote at Cormorant and Brenna English-Loeb at Transatlantic Agency.
In the Merry Widow Murders, An unconventional heiress with a mysterious past traveling from New York to London in 1928 via steamship, discovers a murdered man in her stateroom on their first night at sea.
Big congrats to Mme Melissa Yi for her new book, White Lightning, a Prohibition-inspired thriller.
On December 1st at 7:30 ET, you’re invited to join Melissa’s virtual speakeasy launch party. Artisan distiller, Nathalie Gamache of Gin*Eco*Logic will teach you how to mix a cocktail called the Corpse Reviver #2. Vintage 1920’s clothes optional but encouraged and cheered.
M. H. Callway’s and Sylvia Warsh’s stories will appear in the2021 BOULD Awards Anthology. The anthology is available on Kindle now. Edited by Jake Devlin. Anthologies from previous years are available on Amazon. BOULD stands for Bold, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless and Daring.
Rosemary Aubert’s novel, September, is a love story about a couple in their senior years. The 2021 publication date TBA shortly.
Lisa De Nikolits’ now biweekly podcast, I Read Somewhere That…is a smashing success. In Episode 10, Lisa chats with bestselling author Linwood Barclay and shares a crucial tip from a top book agent. Episode 11: I Read Somewhere That… is also up. As well as The Miramichi Reader, all episodes of the podcast are available on Spotify and Apple iTunes. And don’t forget to subscribe to her podcast for notifications of future episodes.
Lisa also has a fun post scheduled for Dietrich Kalteis’s blog on the 10th of November – You’ll see her fun Q+A on whether one should use current politics and people in a novel you’re currently writing. You’ll be able to see it at 7 Criminal Minds blogspot.
NaNoWriMo begins on November 1st. During November, established and emerging authors are challenged to write a total of 50000 words or roughly 1700 words/day. Lots of support is provided through seminars and write-ins held by Sisters in Crime. https://nanowrimo.org/
Jane is an award-winning author of short fiction. She loves to show the darkness that lurks behind the facade of sweet domesticity and respectability. Recently she is experimenting with writing for young adults. Her story, “There Be Dragons”, was a finalist for the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for Short Stories.
Mesdames:How do your readers see you when they meet you today?
Jane: They’ll find a rumpled, COVID-haired, brain-fogged lady who looks a little bit like a benevolent granny and a little bit like Lear on the Heath!
Mesdames:You’ve had a fascinating life from training as a ballerina to meeting notorious Idi Amin. What more secrets can you tell us?
Jane: I once did an impromptu Hula dance for the Mayor of Atlantic City at a large reception. They gave me the Key to Atlantic City! I was four at the time so I wonder if the Key is still good. Perhaps it will get me a free coffee!
Mesdames: You have to use this dance in your next story! Have you thought about writing for children?
Jane: I do want to include a young child in the story that is starting to form in my mind. The Mesdames of Mayhem anthologies have given me the opportunity to be free, to try writing from different points of view. My story, “There Be Dragons”, in 13 Claws, let me explore a magical world through the eyes of children.
Mesdames:And “There Be Dragons” was a finalist for the Crime Writers of Canada Award for Best Short Story. This could be the start of your career as a children’s writer!
Jane: I do love the sense of carefree spontaneity in children. Where do we lose that freedom of spirit? That bravery? But I’m finding that I can have a more enjoyable adolescence in my later years. This time I’m living it with money and a car!
This October, we give thanks and celebrate all the accomplishments of our members during these uncertain and sometimes spooky times. We also are excited for next year’s anthology and the continuing achievements of our collective in enticing you, our readers, with even more enjoyable experiences with crime fiction.
OUR NEW ANTHOLOGY
Yay! It’s official: the title for the Mesdames’ fifth anthology, to be published in 2022, is – ta-dah! – The Spirit of 13. And “spirit” can mean ghosts, goblins, demons – or debunking of same. Even esprit de corps or alcohol – the only limitations will be the imaginations of our Mesdames and Messieurs!
CONGRATULATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
Big congratulations to Sylvia Warsh for the sale of her eerie suspense tale, “The Natural Order of Things”, to prestigious Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Many authors submit stories but very, very few make it in. This is huge! Publication of Sylvia’s story is scheduled for 2022.
Congrats to M. H. Callway for the reprint of her story, “Incompetence Kills”, in this year’s BOULD anthology. BOULD stands for Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless and Daring. The 2021 BOULD Anthology will be available on Amazon in November.
Congratulations to Catherine Astolfo on the publication of her standalone novel, The Grand Art of Murder, Catherine Astolfo has dished up something (almost) completely different with a novel that’s a bit more lighthearted than her previous books.
The Grand Art of Murder is set in a fictional town near Brantford, Ontario. When a skeleton is discovered under Leonora Harrington’s barn, she is certain that her plans to convert the place into a high-end art gallery are ruined. Not to mention her sense of security. That’s not what happens, though. The events that unravel are both much worse and much better than she could ever have imagined. A gallery opening that breaks all records for attendance. Someone who breaks in and leaves obscure notes. Two more murders. A handsome lover. Not to mention her mother the ghost. How will Leo survive? You can get it in an e-version or a paperback. Check out Catherine Astolfo’s author page on Amazon.
Congratulations to Jayne Barnard on the re-release of her YA Maddie Hattie steam punk series through Clockworks & Crime Media. Check out the fab new covers for Maddie Hatter and the Deadly Diamond, Guilded Gauge and Timely Taffeta on Jayne’s Amazon.ca Author Page for Books, biography, log, audiobooks, Kindle.
Congratulations to Cat Mills! The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival has nominated The Mesdames of Mayhem for Best International Director!